Building Your Mobile App Quality Strategy: STARWEST 2015 Interview with Jason Arbon


In this interview, TechWell speaks with the CEO of, Jason Arbon. During the show, he gave two presentations titled, "Testing the Internet of Things" and "Building Your Mobile App Quality Strategy."

Jennifer Bonine: All right, we are back with our last of our grouping of interviews before you guys are put back to one of our presentations. I'm fortunate enough to have Jason here with me again.

Jason Arbon: You're very lucky.

Jennifer Bonine: Nice to have you here.

Jason Arbon: Nice to be here. Good luck.

Jennifer Bonine: I've gotten to talk to Jason before. For those of you not here, poor Jason, we sit under these very bright lights here when we do this.

Jason Arbon: It's like I'm being interrogated.

Jennifer Bonine: Right? A little bit. A little bit. It can be a little scary but you'll do just fine. Jason what are you talking about here at the conference this time? How's things going?

Jason Arbon: It's okay.

Jennifer Bonine: Okay? Just okay?

Jason Arbon: Just okay.

Jennifer Bonine: Oh no.

Jason Arbon: No, they got me booked, I did a three-hour tutorial on mobile app quality and strategy. They also got me hooked in to do a talk on IoT testing, that was pretty cool. I've also been talking about the new company I started that you're going to ask me about.

Jennifer Bonine: You started a new company?

Jason Arbon: Yeah.

Jennifer Bonine: Very cool, you're always on the bleeding edge. I know last time we had talked you were doing one of our keynotes, for those that haven't seen it you did a keynote and my most memorable thing about Jason is you left your cell phone up on the podium, I think.

Jason Arbon: Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah.

Jason Arbon: I had another one, another incident this time. During the mobile app testing presentation, my ringer went on. I set a timer on there for the break, except the time was set to play back that song that starts with "I'm on a boat in an ocean" and it was super loud. That was kind of embarrassing.

Jennifer Bonine: A little bit, but you've got to do stuff like that, it's okay.

Jason Arbon: I tried to blame the kids, but no one let me do it.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah. No. Since we last spoke you have a new company.

Jason Arbon: Yes. Great question.

Jennifer Bonine: That's awesome.

Jason Arbon: I've got a new company, it's called, it's A-P-P-D-I-F-F dot com. Basically what we're doing is we're solving the two biggest problems in mobile app testing today. Because I hear when I'm at the conferences, what are people talking about all the time? They want to do mobile automation, it's hard, it's painful, it's expensive, and then testers go "How do I test and keep up when I get new builds every day?" Right?

Jennifer Bonine: Right.

Jason Arbon: Because you can't finish your test cycle. Basically what AppDiff does is just like Google crawls the web, it basically crawls your app. It crawls the app store. Automatically, a robot walks through your app, auto-magically, you just upload your app and it crawls through it, it automates everything. Then it will tell you if there's any performance issues automatically, it will send you a picture so you can't hide and pretend you don't understand the graph of performance data. It sends you a picture with the sign up button highlighted in red and says "Super slow. It's three seconds to take a click. You need to fix it."

Jennifer Bonine: You can't ignore it.

Jason Arbon: You can't ignore it, we make it super obvious and easy. Secondly, the magic happens when you send in a second build. This is where I get excited, I get excited about this stuff.

Jennifer Bonine: I know, I can tell.

Jason Arbon: When you send a second build the diff-robots walk through it again, super smart, walk through the entire app just like an end user would, and then it identifies everything that changed. If a new button was added in that build or an image was removed or the flow changes or something got slower, it sends you a text or an email and it says "Yo, this is what changed in the build." Just moments after your build. Manual testers and release managers know what changed, so they can go in and attack it.

Jennifer Bonine: Quickly.

Jason Arbon: It's either free bug, a super easy bug, or it's something new they need to test.

Jennifer Bonine: Which I love, it's like the play on for mobile apps for the diff functionality where you take two word documents and you look at the differences.

Jason Arbon: Exactly.

Jennifer Bonine: But now it's for mobile apps.

Jason Arbon: Yeah. It's for the entire run time of the app, just like the end user does it and auto-magically.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, which is perfect.

Jason Arbon: We are free and pay for advertising space. It's free for one app through the end of the year. Email me or go to and send us your app and we'll analyze it.

Jennifer Bonine: Very cool. That's a great thing to know. For all of you out there go to, through the end of the year it's free to put an app out there.

Jason Arbon: This is what I hear, all I heard this morning, or yesterday morning during the app testing presentation, were these questions. I got fed up but I said I'm going to try to solve it.

Jennifer Bonine: That's awesome. Now have you guys seen ... How long has AppDiff been around now, officially?

Jason Arbon: Officially, it's been about three months, three or four months.

Jennifer Bonine: Wow.

Jason Arbon: We've got a team going.

Jennifer Bonine: Good.

Jason Arbon: Running around and all that kind of stuff.

Jennifer Bonine: Awesome. How many apps do you guys currently have that are being crawled through?

Jason Arbon: It's interesting a mix, we have a bunch of pilots, we have about ten pilots in progress right now, but we also crawl the app store so there's a good chance we've already crawled people's apps. I can just pull them off of Google Play and we automatically, because of just magic,we basically already automated I think about 3,000 applications. Your app has probably already been automated, which is kind of awesome.

Jennifer Bonine: Cool. Jason already helped you out and you didn't know it.

Jason Arbon: Exactly, exactly.

Jennifer Bonine: That's awesome.

Jason Arbon: Yeah.

Jennifer Bonine: What a neat feature, though. How are you advertising or how are people finding out about it? Just through these conferences?

Jason Arbon: Just here right now.

Jennifer Bonine: Just here right now?

Jason Arbon: Coming out right now.

Jennifer Bonine: Just you guys.

Jason Arbon: Yeah, that's actually been really word of mouth. We've been very quiet during the early beta because basically we've had enough inbound to keep us busy. We're building everything, it's in beta and stuff like that, so we've been pretty quiet until basically this week.

Jennifer Bonine: That's awesome.

Jason Arbon: We're ready for a bunch more people to try it out and give us feedback and test it, right?

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, this is great. What a great thing, because that is. You're absolutely right, when you come to these conferences there's common themes of what people are concerned about, how do I do this or what's a good way to do it? That is a gap, there's clear gaps.

Jason Arbon: Like you said, I'm bleeding edge, I'm the kind of crazy guy who would jump, try to go build it.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, you are. You're always bleeding edge.

Jason Arbon: I'm not sure my wife appreciates it. But yeah, I try.

Jennifer Bonine: But you know, one day, when Jason's super famous and won't sit down with me anymore and talk about stuff.

Jason Arbon: Whatever.

Jennifer Bonine: It will be ... One day we'll see how it goes.

Jason Arbon: Actually, I'll get in trouble with her. You know what she says? I'll be working late at night and I'll call her, "Do you want me to come home for dinner?" You know what she says?

Jennifer Bonine: What?

Jason Arbon: She says "Come home when you exit."

Jennifer Bonine: Come on when you exit.

Jason Arbon: If I'm going to jump, I'd better jump.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, exactly. You've got to go all in. I love the concept, I'm sure folks out there are really interested in it too, because it is, it's a huge challenge for testers. We didn't get a chance, the person who was here right before you, where he was a developer on the mobile app side. A common thing I'm hearing from testers now is things like "Gosh, it's kind of unfair, developers in a click of a button can push code to multiple devices. I'm a tester and if I have to manually test all those same devices it takes me way longer than it does for that developer to push a piece of code that's perpetuated to all these things."

Jason Arbon: Exactly. Diff is really a tool that developers have been using forever on source code like you know.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah.

Jason Arbon: Bringing that into the test world and that technology around the idea of Google crawling the entire web and solving the problem and indexing on that data. We're doing that and bringing that forward in the testing world too. It's crazy we don't have the same tools and technologies.

Jennifer Bonine: No, I know. You see it like you said on the developer side they have lots of things to speed them up but getting tools out there to testers and the people who are responsible, it is so critical.

Jason Arbon: These days it's all about speed of iteration.

Jennifer Bonine: It is, yeah. Because it's coming so fast.

Jason Arbon: It's why you need that automation.

Jennifer Bonine: Yep, it is. You just have to have strategies to keep up with it. You also said you talked about the internet of things. With all that connectivity and all the connection points.

Jason Arbon: Yeah. It's going to be crazier. You've got to deploy to environments ... We were talking yesterday about it a lot. The future of that world is going to be almost like dedicated zones, like Paul was talking about in the keynote yesterday, in the cities where you can actually test all these technologies in a city context. There's going to be apartments for rent where you basically rent time and the lab is going to be an apartment in some building.

Jennifer Bonine: Right, where all the things are.

Jason Arbon: It's got Nest, you've got all the Samsung TVs, you've got everything in there. You load your little code, your little app up in there, run it inside that environment. That's going to be your lab, but it's a very, very real world lab. I think it's the future of IoT testing.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah. How interesting though, right? Yesterday we had Bart and the Test Lab guys in here talking about our laboratory that we have out here, some of the folks are virtually doing the lab, but to think about that lab's now going to move from what we've traditionally thought of as a room with some TVs and it has some devices and cell phones, and then it has some laptops and stuff. But now it's literally going to be made into a real world lab with an apartment.

Jason Arbon: Awesome. Right. Okay, cool. Like a little apartment world.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, exactly.

Jason Arbon: Real devices, you can sit probably on the couch or something.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah, exactly. Because that's what it's going to be, to your point of you've got to see it perform how it interacts, which is all connected in that space.

Jason Arbon: The only way to really verify it at the end of the day, you can emulate and automate a lot of stuff but you've got to put it out in the real world.

Jennifer Bonine: And see how it all works together. Pretty exciting stuff though, just a lot of neat stuff.

Jason Arbon: Absolutely, I almost feel anxious because I like to be on the edge.

Jennifer Bonine: I know.

Jason Arbon: It's all I can do to contain myself, not to start building these apartments and then renting out access to the space.

Jennifer Bonine: To the space so people can test.

Jason Arbon: I've got to focus on mobile apps right now.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah. Focus on this one and then next time I talk to you you'll have apartments you're renting out for space for test labs.

Jason Arbon: Yeah, exactly. The lab will get bigger.

Jennifer Bonine: Next you'll be renting test labs from Jason.

Jason Arbon: Right.

Jennifer Bonine: After you get your apps crawled through. This is awesome, Jason, we're already out of time, it goes so fast.

Jason Arbon: Okay, cool. Great, thanks for letting me advertise.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah.

Jason Arbon: And bug you again.

Jennifer Bonine: I know. Then again, just to make sure where they can find you if they have more questions.

Jason Arbon: I'm not on Twitter. Actually I am, I don't use it, I'm too old.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah.

Jason Arbon: I'm [email protected], just visit

Jennifer Bonine: Perfect.

Jason Arbon: Put your contact info in there and I'll get a hold of you.

Jennifer Bonine: They will be able to find you.

Jason Arbon: Yep.

Jennifer Bonine: Awesome.

Jason Arbon: Yeah.

Jennifer Bonine: Perfect. Thanks Jason.

Jason Arbon: I'd give you my personal Gmail but I don't read it. People noticed I had three thousand unreads yesterday.

Jennifer Bonine: Oh no.

Jason Arbon: But if you email me at the company, I'll actually get back to you.

Jennifer Bonine: You'll actually get back.

Jason Arbon: Yeah.

Jennifer Bonine: That's the best way to find him then.

Jason Arbon: [email protected]

Jennifer Bonine: Thanks Jason.

Jason Arbon: Thank you much.

Jennifer Bonine: That was awesome.

Jason Arbon: All right, I'll see you around.

Jason ArbonJason Arbon is the CEO of, focused on automagically identifying differences in mobile app UI, UX, and performance. Jason is also the creator of the new mobile web search and discovery app mobo ( Jason was formerly the director of engineering and director of product at, where he created the App Store data analytics service and led overall product strategy to deliver crowdtesting to top app teams via more than 100,000 community members. Jason previously held engineering management and innovation roles at Google and Microsoft. He coauthored How Google Tests Software and authored App Quality: Secrets for Agile App Teams.

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